NILES Deputy city auditor: Resurrect indigent burial fund ordinance

The state used to kick in $750 for indigent burials.
NILES -- It seems like a dead issue, but an ordinance passed by council more than 30 years ago is causing grave concerns.
Linda Yuhasz, deputy city auditor, got a call this week from the Trumbull County Coroner's office about an indigent city resident who had died. Municipalities and townships are expected to foot the bill for burials of indigents.
Yuhasz said the city hasn't been called upon to pay the bill for several years. When she reviewed the ordinance establishing a burial fund for indigent burials, she found the amount wouldn't cover the costs.
The ordinance, passed by council and signed by the late Mayor Carmen DeChristofaro in July 1967, authorized the auditor's office to pay up to $250 for each burial.
Price increase: Yuhasz called a local funeral home and found out it costs $750 for a casket and a grave liner. Cremation costs $400.
The state used to pitch in $750 to cover indigent burial costs, but that law changed last month and the state now pays nothing.
Yuhasz said the family of the man whose death unearthed the issue ended up paying for the expenses.
But that doesn't mean the issue should get buried.
"I think city council needs to consider raising the amount," Yuhasz said at a finance committee meeting Wednesday.
Meeting: She suggested consulting with the city's cemetery board, which includes area funeral directors, to determine how much the limit should be raised.
"I'll get hold of someone from the cemetery board," said Councilman Paul Hogan, D-4th, a member of council's safety, health and welfare committee.

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